The KI community started planning for our centennial five years ago. Not by planning a simple anniversary party, but by looking inward at who we have been, who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.
We began with a series of house parties, followed by focus groups at the shul. We discussed what KI means, what our core strengths are, and took a realistic look at where we fall down. When the Pew Study (“A Portrait of Jewish Americans”) was published, we incorporated the questions it raised into our discussions.
We asked one another, what should a synagogue be for the next 100 years? Just as important, we questioned what KI should be for the next 100 years? How should we take the core strengths of KI and expand our mission to better meet the needs of our congregation, our community, and our world?
Five years ago we defined our initial visions for KI’s next 100 years – answering the “why” behind our wishes and dreams for KI’s second century – then began a deliberate and thorough process to determine what we can and should do from a practical standpoint.
A very exciting aspect of our vision is that it builds on considerable strengths. It builds on our history, but also our present reality. Thanks to our members’ participation and our Board members’ dedication, KI’s finances are in excellent shape. And KI’s membership – the heart and soul of our community – is stable and growing. Our youth programming is expanding, as are KI’s learning initiatives and Chesed activities.
However, as we defined our vision, rooted in KI’s reality and focusing on KI’s future, we faced a simple obstacle — how to implement KI’s 21st century concept within a 20th century structure?
This brings us to KI Next: Building Our Future. KI’s vision for our Second Century will enable the restoration of our historic space and the creation of a multi-generational campus in the heart of Jewish Brookline. This plan will achieve two goals:
- Responsibly refurbish our buildings – making them more flexible, accessible, green, coherent, and secure – and make space on our campus for anchor partners who will further our mission and provide ongoing revenue streams to maintain our buildings for the next hundred years.
- Develop and sustain fresh and inspirational Jewish programs that will build Jewish identity, promote Jewish learning and literacy, and increase overall engagement with Israel and the wider Jewish community.
This vision continues KI’s century-long legacy as an innovative and prominent voice throughout North American Jewish life and serves as KI’s answer to the challenges we see for the Jewish Community as a whole now and for the next 100 years.
Many of you have attended meetings, offered suggestions, shaped the emerging plan and pledged support. Whether you’ve already engaged or not, we want to invite you to get involved and learn more. Because of all the many exciting aspects of KI Next, we are most excited about our community coming together to make this vision a reality.
Phase II of the KI Next Project
“KI Next is about much more than new and renovated facilities. It’s about creating a collaborative, multi-generational campus that provides the scale, skills, financial resources and creative energy to serve the Boston Jewish community and to set an example for communities across the country and around the world. At a time when many conservative synagogues are managing their decline, we are embarking on a bold and robust path.”
“KI Next exemplifies how synagogues can be more inclusive and serve as a hub of activity day and night. All over America we have large synagogues that go unused much of the week. This is giving us a new model of making the synagogue a place where all sorts of Jewish activities can go on.’’
“We asked, ‘What is KI? What do we stand for?’ There was a surprising amount of unanimity. . . . We were drawn to going back to what the synagogue originally was: a house of learning, a house of assembly, where you’re not in a box that you only come to Saturdays.”
“KI Next is about redefining what a center can be for Jewish life — for the spirit, mind, and heart. We want our partner institutions to be independent–each of them has a reason to be, an ideology and aspirations and strategies that are unique. Nobody is saying let’s all pray together, but they say let’s all have dinner together . . . or do public service work together.”